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Tuesday Bolts – 11.15.16

Tuesday Bolts – 11.15.16

Fred Katz: “The Pistons downed the Thunder 104-88, handing Oklahoma City its fourth straight loss and bringing its season record to 6-5. It was the second defeat in as many days for the Thunder, who fell to the Orlando Magic on Sunday before picking up their already-packed bags and heading to the plane from Chesapeake Energy Arena. “In fairness to our guys, you can almost expect that on


a back-to-back you’re gonna be a little bit leg weary, and generally, that’s gonna affect your offense,” coach Billy Donovan said. “I think sometimes on back-to-backs, you can’t put a lot of stock or onus on having a great offensive output, but you’ve gotta hang your hat on your defense.” The OKC defense was inconsistent, but the Pistons still scored at a relatively inefficient rate Monday. The Thunder, meanwhile, were worse than 40 percent from the field for the first time this season. They shot a dismal 5-of-27 from 3.”

Erik Horne: “Westbrook said that no matter who the Pistons had out there Monday night, the Thunder’s defense has to be better. The Thunder allowed 60 points in the paint, 30 in each half. “We’re one of the top teams in the league when we play (good) defensively,” Westbrook said. “So I’m not really worried about who’s playing and who’s not.” After Enes Kanter made a 12-foot jumper to get the Thunder to within one at 30-29, the Pistons went on their tear. The starting combination of Kanter, Semaj Christon, Alex Abrines, Joffrey Lauvergne and Grant went scoreless (0-of-4) for more than two minutes after Kanter’s jumper. By the time Donovan brought Westbrook, Steven Adams and the struggling Victor Oladipo back at 8:14, the Pistons led by 11.”

An analysis of Russell Westbrook’s triple doubles: “Russell Westbrook recorded his third triple-double of the season Sunday night against Orlando. The rest of the NBA combined this season has that many, two by James Harden and one by LeBron James. Westbrook’s monster 41-point, 12-rebound, 16-assist effort in a two-point loss to the Magic was the fifth time he has registered a triple-double with at least 40 points. Since 1983, no other player has done that more than three times. There’s all kinds of fun you can have digging into Westbrook’s eye-popping stat lines. For example, did you know prior to Sunday night’s loss the Thunder had won 20 straight games when Westbrook manufactures a triple-double? According to ESPN Stats & Info, that ranked him third all-time for most consecutive victories when assembling a triple-double.”

Billy Donovan’s concern over the Thunder 3-point defense: “The numbers were misleading, said Donovan, who stopped just short of calling his team lucky. For example, he pointed out, the Thunder were giving up too many corner 3-pointers, and – despite holding opponents to a low percentage on those shots – dodging bullets on the shortest and most makeable of long-ball buckets. “I get more concerned that the number of attempts that are going up are extremely high,” Donovan said. “Because if the percentages play themselves out over 82 games, that’s not gonna be good.” Donovan proved prophetic. The Magic made 4 of 9 corner 3-pointers Sunday in a 119-117 win, and maybe Donovan shouldn’t have been the only one who saw what was about to happen”

Thunder drop to No. 9 in the last ESPN ranking.

Brett Dawson sat down with Dakari Johnson of the Blue: “The former Thunder draft pick — returning for his second season with the Blue, Oklahoma City’s NBA Development League team — said this week that he’s shed about six pounds and that he’s focused on improving defensively in the hopes of making the NBA leap. “I think he always had a good skill level, but a lot of times it was hard to get it in the game,” Thunder coach Billy Donovan said. “Now I think with him and his growth and development, he’s getting a lot of stuff in the game. He’s facing up, he’s putting it on the floor, he can make a mid-range jump shot, he can play with his back to the basket, he’s a really good passer. There’s a lot of things that he does to impact the outcome of the game.”